33919 Highway 21
Gurnee,IL 60031
481 acres
6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Lake Carina

Route 120 Underpass Updates

The Des Plaines River Trail underpass at Route 120 will be closed intermittently between April–August due to bridge maintenance. The Illinois Department of Transportation is initiating bridge maintenance work and requested the closure for safety reasons. Keep an eye out for posted signs. Before heading out, check the current status (open/closed) of trails and underpasses at LCFPD.org/trail-status.

Located along the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, Lake Carina offers trails, an accessible fishing pier, toilets and parking at its main entrance on Milwaukee Avenue. Anglers can fish from the pier or from shore. 

Lake access is available for cartop boats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and other small non-motorized watercraft. Electric trolling motors are allowed. Trailers are not permitted. Launching is free and at your own risk. You'll need approved flotation gear. 

A second entrance to the north near Grand Avenue provides access to the Des Plaines River Trail and a canoe launch along the river.


A short trail provides walk-in access from Milwaukee Avenue and connects the parking area with the fishing pier. A 1-mile mowed grass trail encircles the lake and is ideal for hiking and nature observation, and cross-country skiing. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our Off-Leash Dog Areas (permit required).

Des Plaines River Canoe Launch and Trail Access

A Des Plaines River canoe launch is separate from the rest of Lake Carina with its own entrance adjacent to Gurnee's Gowe Park at McClure Avenue and O'Plaine Road just south of Grand Avenue (Route 132). If you put your canoe in here, the next Forest Preserve ramp is at the Independence Grove Canoe Launch, 5.1 miles downstream.

The launch area offers access to the river, shoreline fishing, a trail connection to the Des Plaines River Trail, and public parking.



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More About This Preserve

The Natural Scene

Anglers can cast for bluegill, northern pike, largemouth bass, perch and white crappie. Lake Carina is stocked by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The lake is surrounded by woodlands and open fields. The preserve also features a pond, wetlands and a stream named Stoneroller Creek. Birdwatchers may find belted kingfishers, eastern kingbirds, yellow warblers, northern orioles and several types of herons.


A popular fishing hole and former gravel pit, this preserve's main feature is Lake Carina. A 500-foot gravel trail provides walk-in access and connects the parking area with a handicap-accessible fishing pier.


The main entrance is on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21), between Washington Street and Belvidere Road (Route 120).

A second entrance to the north provides separate access to the Des Plaines River Trail and a canoe launch along the river adjacent to Gurnee's Gowe Park at McClure Avenue and O'Plaine Road just south of Grand Avenue (Route 132).

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